English translation from the official periodical of RAIPON “Мир коренных народов живая арктика” (Indigenous Peoples’ World Living Arctic) No. 6-7, 2001

IV Congress of Indigenous Peoples of the North, Siberia and Far East

The IV Congress of Indigenous Peoples of the North, Siberia and Far East has been held in Moscow on 12-13 April 2001, with the registration of 335 delegates and participation of over 400 guests. There were presented 29 federal units of the Russian Federation, practically all the regions inhabited by the minority indigenous peoples and represented by their delegates and grassroot organizations.

Main reports were presented by Sergey Kharyuchi, the Russian Association of the Indigenous Peoples of the North (RAIPON) President, Valeriy Kirpichnikov, first Deputy of the Minister on Federal, National and Migration Policy, Artur Chilingarov, Deputy Chairman of the RF State Duma, Aleksandr Nazarov, Chairman of the Committee on North Affairs and Minority Peoples under the Federal Assembly, Valentina Pivnenko, Chairman of the Committee on Problems of the North and Far East, Mikhail Nikola­ev, The President of Sakha Republic (Yakutia). During the Congress there were 65 presentations and interventions from regional NGOs and predominantly indigenous delegates.

The Congress adopted the resolution, where particular attention is paid to preservation and development of the traditional lifestyle and self-management at the traditional land use areas, and the Charter of Indigenous Peoples of the North, Siberia and Far East of the Russian Federation. The RAIPON By-Laws have been amended and changed, including approved by voting an amendment that RAIPON is a plenipotent representative of the 40 indigenous nations of the North, Siberia and Far East of Russia.

During the Congress there was discussed a new structure of the RAIPON – an institution of vice-presidents and regional coordinators established for better interaction with the regional and ethnic organizations of the indigenous peoples. There was adopted a decision to exchange proposals and share the ideas on new political and organizational structure of the RAIPON until the next Coordinating Council (CC) meeting. At present the CC consists of 42 members, including 34 regional elected representatives. The CC is chair­ed by the RAIPON President.

Three candidates were proposed for the RAIPON President election process. As a result of the direct secret vote 192 delegates have voted for Mr Sergey Kharyuchi, 85 for Ms Tatyana Gogoleva and 8 for Mr. Aleksandr Lambin, there­fore Sergey Kharyuchi was re-elected a President for another 4-year period.

On an alternative basis Mr. Pavel Sulyandziga, RAIPON Vice-President has been elected a Candidate to the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues from the NIS region.

Representatives from the Arctic state embassies passed greetings from Finland, Denmark and Cana­da to the participants of the Indigenous Congress, 29 foreign guests were present at the Congress along with the official observers from the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and International Working Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA).

On morning April 13 the action with participation of the indigenous regional leaders has been organized at the Gorbaty Bridge near the Residence (White House) of the Russian Federation Government. After the Congress on an agreement with the relevant Ministries and agencies the delegates have appointed meetings with the official representatives, dealing with the problems and issues of indigenous peoples of the North, Siberia and Far East.

Under the Congress on 7-15 April 2001, there was held a seminar “Federal Legislation on indigenous issues and its enforcement”.

The Congress debates have been covered by over 60 journalists from 37 foreign, national and regional press agencies and shootings by 10 TV companies.